Award winning French short film “The Red Balloon” (1956) directed by Albert Lamorisse and starring his son Pascal Lamorisse.
Its a very interesting them, a red balloon follows a little boy wherever he goes. Its like the balloon has a mind of its own. The little boy leaves the balloon after some time, but still it follows him everywhere including when he goes to school by bus, inside the school compound etc.
There are school kids who want to kill the balloon but it escapes them all the time and sort of plays a game with the pursuers. Pascal walks on the street with the balloon when he passes a girl who is carrying a blue balloon and it also seems to have a mind of its own.
The school kids finally manage to quash it, but immediately thereafter all the balloons city rise up as in a tribute to the fallen balloon. Nice neat production and direction by Albert Lamorisse, manages to convey his thoughts through this short film .
This film won a spate of awards at the Oscars, Cannes, Palme d’Or etc.
Acclaimed short film “Zero for Conduct” (1933) directed by Jean Vigo wherein four students take over a boarding school in rebellion.
There is not much by way of a story here, the almost faded black and white images shows us that four boys are rebellious in the class. Even a couple of the teachers are shown as eccentric, one is shown as stealing things from the kids, another is clowning like Charlie Chaplin and third is doing hand stand in the class.
The kids are fed beans almost every day and there is strict disciplinary action against these four kids like asking them to stand in one place, grounding them for a day etc. The four kids plan and take over the school on the France’s Commemoration Day. The film ends with police entering the school premises.
Apparently the film is made as a result of Jean Vigo’s own experiences in a boarding school and the characters in the film also mirror some of his friends.
Production values for a 1933 film is quite good, though the print is quite out dated.
Creator Series film no. 5, Markella Mildenberger is coming off a major injury that has sidelined her for almost 8 years and she has been recommended biking to rescue her body and rehabilitate. She pushes her limits by taking part in a multi day stage biking race in B.C. There is not much of riding footage here as in the other movies, but certainly a lot of inspirational moments for any sportsperson out there. There is a narrative, so that’s very good. The direction, camera work, and everything else is spectacular. Doing a multi day stage bike racing in the mountains as a first time mountain biking experience is certainly something that requires lot of courage and determination. Markella excels in that she completes every day strongly.
4th film in the series Creator Series of mountain biking short films, this time it is from Bali, Indonesia. Professional MTB rider Keegan Wright embarks on the journey equipped with some local cash to purchase supplies etc. survive on his own. He goes through absolutely breathtaking forests, some rice terraces, agricultural farms, black lava. The scenery, camera work, photography, cinematography, music are all totally magnificent.
These are all the kind of out of box thinking that propels a country’s image to the world – progressive, positive, vibrant.
This is the 3rd in the series of Creator Series short films on mountain biking. Bill McLane is a firefighter by profession and in his hobby time, he builds trails for bikers in mountains. Quite a passion that, having to travel miles and then spend days and days literally building a trail from scratch, uprooting stones, rocks, roots, making planks and ensuring that it is safe at the same time, quite challenging for bikers. He does for the film in Nanaimo, B.C. Beautifully made movie again in this series, quite breathtaking scenery, camera work, photography and cinematography. Lovely series this one.
This is another of the Creator Series short films on mountain biking. This one from Darrington, Washington which is surrounded by the Cascade Mountains. The community had a tragedy in 2014 when a mud slide destroyed 49 homes killing 43 people in its wake. That’s when the mayor and other community leaders embarked on a program to rebuild the community spirit and mountain biking was seen as one such option. They had beautiful forests nearby so that proved beneficial to them. They had bought in experts to make a proper track, a mountain biking track in the mountains, by removing the roots, stones etc. and creating a kind of a nice zigzag pathway for mountain bikers.
That is something which we in India should try to emulate. We have ample mountains and forests. All we need to do is to create an ecosystem of people friendly activities in the forests be it mountain biking, or hiking, trekking, studying plants, insects etc. so that people connect with nature and learn to respect the mountains. Sadly lacking in India.
These are Creator Series short movies, 10 in all, for filmmakers, to tell bike related stories. Stories that might be overlooked because they didn’t fit into a certain mold.
This one, My Last Day of Summer is the third one in the series. Julia, a young girl, a bike enthusiast takes her bike to the repair shop for some slight repairs. She has to wait for a while, because the shop is closed. The owner comes and says we can’t promise, we are full up today, but he will try he says. Julia sits down to read a comic book, that has a kid riding a bike in a forest. She imagines herself in that situations amidst the ups and downs of the forest path, amidst the tall trees and the sounds of the birds and insects of the forest. Soon she gets her bike back and goes into the forest.
Its a short movie of about 8 minutes, but beautifully made, super creative shots of the kid riding the bike in the forest.
The other short movies of the series can be found here
First ever science fiction movie in the history of cinema, A Trip to the Moon, made in 1902 by Georges Melies. Its a legendary movie in that sense. Its a short movie of 12.50 mins and silent movie. 5 astronomers (not astronauts) are chosen to a trip to the moon. They make a bullet like console in which to travel to the moon.
Note they are all going in their coats and hats and wigs and each one carrying an umbrella!! On the way to the moon, the moon smiles at them, as if welcoming them!! They reach the moon and wave to the earth.
They feel tired after the long trip from the earth to the moon, so all of them lie down there on the lunar floor and go to sleep!! In the absence of dialogue, unable to fathom the movie clearly, but a lot of stars appear there on the horizon, curious at these people. Then some other lady comes in a vehicle and starts showering snow on the humans, waking them up!!
Then they go into a cavern!! in which exotic plants and mushroom grow taller than humans.
They are then attacked by some aliens and captured alive and taken to the king of aliens. One of the astronomers frees himself from the ropes and goes and picks up the king of the aliens and throws him on the ground. Aliens go into puff of air upon being thrown on the ground.
Astronomers then escape back to their bullet capsule and one guy is seen hanging by the thread and one alien manages to land himself on the capsule back.
Astronomers return back to the earth to a tumultuous welcome.
The captured alien is made to dance on the streets with the humans. Its a path breaking movie in many respects, the first science fiction movie.
Science fiction short film (1962) directed by Chris Marker and told entirely by a continuing series of still images. There is no dialogue in the movie except for some mild mutterings, which the viewers will not be able to make out. The central protagonist in the movie is a man who has survived a nuclear attack during World War III and is disturbed by some images from his childhood. There is nobody on earth following the apocalypse and so he is chosen as an experiment subject to do time travel to first go back in time and then ahead of time. He is continually seeing a woman (Helene Chatelain) in his time travel and keeps running into her at various stages of the time travel. In the end he comes back to the earth, where he sees another sets of images that of a man falling down on the airport tarmac. Its a very experimental movie and the editing of the photographs have been done quite well.
Meshes of the Afternoon, (1943) a short film created by Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid. Its again a surrealist film just like Luis Bunuel’s “Un Chien Andalou”. A woman is seen as walking down a path, she goes to a door, finds it locked, finds the hidden key, the key falls down onto the stairs, then she goes inside the room, which is in disarray, the phone is off the hook, she finds a knife on a bread, a record player playing and then somebody is chasing her, she in turn is chasing a lady without a face but not able to catch her. The images and visuals keep repeating like in a dream. There is no meaning to the movie, its a dream sequence, and one can interpret it the way one wants. Later a man comes into the house, the same sequence keeps repeating, with the key and the knife and the lady. One can sum it as the character’s thought patterns in a time of crisis.
A surrealist short film made by Spanish surrealist film maker Luis Bunuel and painter Salvador Dali. The film has no structured script, it is based on the dreams of Bunuel and Dali that they wanted to create something based on surrealism mixed with Freudian thought. Even the title does not give any clue as to what this film is about. In fact, Bunuel wanted it that way, that nobody should try to understand and explain the film. The only thing we can say is that film is based on dream sequences and since you can dream anything which may or may not make sense, the film follows that theme. The film wants to shock the viewer. The movie is one shot followed by another there is no pattern to it, try as you might. There is no connection between one shot to the other.
Short film, which won the award at Oscars 2019 for best live action short film. The film starts with a pregnant lady (Maria Dizzia) who is sitting on her dining table with her husband, when she espies a young couple making love from across her window, which she could see clearly. The neighbours did not have any drapes nor do they bother to close it. The action continues after her child birth when she continues to be obsessed with the family across the window. Little tiff takes place between the husband (Greg Killer) and Alli but he sort of pushes it away from her memory, not Alli who continues to be fascinated by the goings on across the window. Nice short movie with a complete story in itself, little drama, some suspense and some fun.
A short film by Alicia Grullon where she herself plays the role of UN High Commissioner for Refugees and mandates deployment of UN peace keeping forces to the US- Mexican border, for protection of civilians & children & women in armed conflict. UN is mandated to protect people feeling armed conflict and climactic changes. She says people don’t just leave homes and walk miles on journeys that could be fatal. This has got some resonance with the Indian migrant workers walking 100s and 1000s of kms in brutal Indian summer to reach their homes in villages after the entire country was locked down in a 4 hours notice. Indigenous people from the five continents will be protected directly by the UN instead of the neo fascist states, the film states. UN will also eject the permanent council member states or states that have profited from the colonisation. This of course, is a fictionalised account of what should happen in the world today, but connects immediately to the masses. Brilliant short film by Alicia, this is what is required in the world today. Big corporations have taken over the world resources thereby pushing the indigenous and forest tribals to the marginal living. Democracy which is supposed to be for the people has become for the big corporations.
Afronauts, a short film by Nuatomo Bodomo, a fictionalised account of a Zambian albino being the first person to land on the moon ahead of the Americans. The Zambian preparation is much simpler with a lot of song and dance and some inspirational talk. It is an aspirational movie on the realm of possibility.